Super Committee Ain't So Super

The failure of the Congressional super committee to come up with a compromise on a financial plan is probably no surprise to any political observer who is realistic about the current state of affairs in Washington. The super committee was doomed to fail from day one.

When the 12 member committee was formed, it was a known fact that the six Republican members had signed a pledge to oppose any new taxes. Locked into that position there was no chance that any new taxes would be approved.

Add to that dynamic the fact that the six Democratic members were unlikely to support any deep cuts in Social Security and Medicare and you get three months of wasted negotiations.

So now what? For the next few weeks we will be faced with a torrent of ugly accusations being exchanged back and forth between the participants and the various party leaders. Republicans will blame everyone from Barack Obama on down to the office interns for the inability of the committee to come up with a new fiscal package .

Democrats will point fingers at House Speaker John Boehner and anti-tax man Grover Norquist for the collapse of negotiations. They will warn that the impact of the collapse will be felt throughout the country in numerous ways never before anticipated. In truth and in fact both sides have some strong arguments about how badly the Congress failed to do its job, but the blame must be spread around equally.

There is no question that Washington lobbyists had concerns about all of the cuts to the defense industry and the many other sacred cows that will be impacted by the cuts when they take effect in 2013. This mandated plan will hurt a lot of businesses and a lot of people.

Looking back over the past few months one must wonder how the United States Congress, our nation's most deliberative body, locked itself into a plan that would make massive cuts in programs and eliminate the Bush tax cuts, if there was no compromise between the two houses.

If you ever want to find a group that is capable of kicking the proverbial can down the road, the Congress tops the list. In recent years when faced with a tough political vote the Congress resorted to appointing some temporary commission and passing a short extender bill so that the government would continue operating.

The package that was presented to the super committee contained all kinds of bitter news for the country, but for one brief moment, both sides calculated that somehow, some way, faced with draconian cuts in every program, cooler heads would prevail and a compromise would be crafted.

Despite an occasional burst of optimism from quarters that were not involved in the negotiations, it is fair to say that both sides were anticipating that the committee would fail to come up with anything that resembles a budget deal.

Republicans from McConnell to Boehner want Barack Obama to lose next year's election and another recession might be just the answer to their prayers. After all, a disillusioned electorate looking for someone to blame in 2012 would more than likely take it out on a sitting President.

Democrats faced with the possibility that there would be more cuts to Medicare and Social Security if the super committee came up with a tougher package were just as content to let the 2013 cuts take effect. That was the prediction made by senior Senate Democrats months ago and their guess was correct.

The only group that comes out of this process badly bruised and hurting badly is the American public. No compromise in Washington these days is painless, but a Congress made up of two political parties who care more about the next election than the next generation is truly a do nothing Congress.

Whether you are a Tea Party true believer or an ultra liberal, there are no Congressional gold stars for the death of the super committee and its negotiations. President Obama and members of the House of Representatives are both up for reelection next year but any incumbent, whether they be Republican or Democrat, who thinks they are a lock for reelection is in a state of delusion.